...there was a homebrewer and he loved to brew beer. He started brewing beer in 1991 using extract and pitching old dried yeast directly into a bleach sanitized bucket. The beer was terrible but he didn't know it. All he knew was something amazing was afoot. He could make something few others could. After a few years of sporadic brewing and sporadic daydreaming about becoming a professional brewer, our homebrewer's focus moved away from beer . Perhaps it was the fact that he was an undisciplined twenty-something with little ability to focus on anything but drinking, chasing women (usually unsuccessfully), and peeing in alleys (usually successfully). Perhaps he just needed to mature a bit. Age like a pungent cheese. Fast forward to Fall, 2008. Having lived in his house with a basement for several years, the homebrewer finally decided that it was time to brew again. Something was different this time. There was focus. Excitement. A thirst for knowledge – and good beer. Passion. Extract quickly gave way to all grain. Bottling gave way to kegging. Yeast was placed in starter wort in an Erlenmeyer flask and placed on a stir plate. Meads were fermenting. Saccharomyces cerevisiae gave way to lactobacillus and brettanomyces. Within a few months, the basement was filled with glass carboys, grains, mash tuns, temperature controllers, pipettes, flasks, chest freezers and much more. The beer was excellent ... usually.
Outside of homebrewing, "microbrews" became "craft beer" and craft beer was everywhere. New bars were dedicated to serving it. New festivals focused on regional craft beer offerings. And Chicago, which for many years languished behind many major cities in craft beer culture, finally embraced it. Metropolitan and Half Acre re-blazed a trail that had been previously traveled by Goose Island, Chicago Brewing Company, and Golden Prairie (remember that one?).
It's now October 4, 2011 and boy have things changed for our intrepid homebrewer. This blog is about those changes. If you've ever dreamed of opening your own brewery or perhaps any kind of small business to pursue your dreams, follow along. This is going to be a hell of a ride.
And just so we're clear here: Failure is not an option.